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Vote by mail

Election 2012: Negating Evil

I Voted by stephenyeargin

I was working on my ballot over the weekend and I realized this year, more than any previous year, I’m not voting for candidates as much as I’m voting against their opposition.

I Voted by stephenyeargin

I Voted by stephenyeargin from Flickr

Ever since I was old enough to vote, I’ve always voted by mail with the exception of one minor one-item ballot. I can spend weeks preparing my ballot. Most of the summaries provided by candidates in the voting materials are worthless so I do my own research. It’s common for me to email candidates questions about the issues that matter most to me and I have spreadsheets that help me keep track of where candidate platforms align with my views.

I’ve never voted a straight party ticket because I don’t feel like I belong in any political party. Most people would say that I’m fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I prefer to say I’m logical and sane.

Technically I’m a registered Republican but i should probably be an Independent. I changed my party affiliation this year so I could vote in the Arizona presidential primary. I will continue to change my political party as needed to maximize my voting rights and opportunities.

I’ve received a lot of phone calls from people taking political polls this election cycle. I almost always say I don’t know who I’m voting for in any race because I have strong objections to almost every candidate’s platform. One person asked me which candidate I preferred in a particular race and I responded, “Neither. They both suck.” In many races I feel like I’m voting for the lesser of the two evils, but this election is worse than usual when it comes to my options for state and national positions.

More than ever I feel like I’m performing a balancing act with my ballot. I tried to find candidates that mostly fit with my views and vote other people into office who will make it hard for them to pass bills into law on issues where I disagree with their position.

I find political ads obnoxious and I change the channel whenever I see one. A television ad isn’t going to change my vote. I recycle every political ad that arrives in my mailbox without looking at them. Whenever I get a political robo-call, I hold the phone away from my ear so I don’t have to hear it and I find satisfaction in tying up the line for a minute so they can’t annoy someone else.

I believe you have to vote to maintain your right to bitch. I have a feeling I’ll be bitching not matter who ends up in office because the people who would be best suited for a position are not found on the ballot.

Everyone Should Vote By Mail

This past Saturday, I stood at my kitchen counter for two hours and worked on my ballot.  There was much to vote on:  governor, representatives, propositions, judges, and the State Mine Inspector just to name a few.   There were very few heated campaigns or hot button issues so I spent a lot of time reading through candidate statements, the pros and cons of the propositions, and the results of the judicial performance review.  I was very grateful to AZ Central for providing information about the candidates for the Central Arizona Water Conservation District.

A voter returns his vote-by-mail ballot in the...
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I have always voted by mail.  When I turned 18 and registered to vote, I lived in Oregon where everyone votes by mail.  They don’t have polling places.  They only have ballot drop boxes.  It’s very convenient.  When I moved to Arizona, I signed up to permanently get my ballot by mail.  I have voted in a polling place once in my life – it was overrated.

While I was working on my ballot, I wondered how many people don’t look at the candidates or the propositions until they go into the voting booth.  Do they just vote along party lines?  What do they do about votes to retain judges or non-partisan races like the water conservation district?  Do they just vote for the names that sound pretty?

One of my favorite voting memories was from the 2000 election.  I was a senior at Oregon State University and a resident assistant in McNary Hall.  I remember sitting on the floor in the hallway with some of my residents working on our ballots because they were due the next day.  Nothing spectacular happened that night but I remember really talking about the candidates and the propositions before making my final choices.

I think every state should be like Oregon and only have voting by mail.  It would force voters be more thoughtful about who and what they are voting for.  It would also give them the ability to do more research on the candidates.  I had some questions while I was working on my ballot and I sent emails to the candidates asking for their position on key issues.

It’s also more convenient to vote from home.  One of my fellow law students is from Oregon.  Like me, she’s a permanent voter by mail too.  We were discussing this issue today and she said that she’s too lazy to go to a polling place.  If she had to go farther than her mailbox to vote, it would be too far.  I don’t think she’s lazy, just efficient.

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